The Devil Came Down to Georgia

Sherman was confident of a quick and easy victory. He had forced General Hood back, at the Battle of Kolb’s Farm north of Atlanta. The Union General was only a couple of dozen miles from Atlanta, sure that the Rebels were now stretched too thin to resist him. At eight in the morning 27 June […]

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Secession: “The die was cast”

If you are a regular reader you know I like history as seen through the eyes of the men who lived it. David Johnston was 15 when Virginia’s debate on secession began. But he was 16 and a Confederate soldier when the first shots were fired on Virginia soil. You can see him in the […]

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Major Harman: Stonewall’s Quartermaster

Major John Harman (above) was described as a “man of strong convictions and uncompromising in his beliefs, caring little for the opinion of others.” A good summary, but I would add he was short-tempered and his language turned the air blue. Harman had been many things before the Civil War: butcher, farmer, and stage line […]

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“Shoot! They are Yankees!”

It happened just south of Nashville, right in the middle of Tennessee. The Rebels called it the Second Battle of Murfreesboro. The Federals called it the Battle of Stones River. (The Union Army frequently named battles after rivers and creeks that played a role in the fighting. Confederates generally used the names of nearby towns […]

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“We felt it was murder, not war…”

Late Spring 1864: Grant wanted to take the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.  He had been trying to slip around the Rebels, but the wily Lee kept blocking him. Now Grant made a wide swing to flank the Rebels and seize Cold Harbor. Not a real town, Cold Harbor was just an intersection of roads, […]

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Mercy at Gettysburg

Lieutenant Alexander Douglas could it no longer. The cries stirred him to action. Douglas had been born on Christmas Day of 1833 in South Carolina, a land that was first settled by the English in 1670.  Early Americans battled Redcoats there in the Revolutionary War, and later, in 1865, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman burned […]

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Clash at Sharpsburg

Union General McClellan had just come into some key intelligence. Now he thought he had Robert E. Lee right where he wanted him, in enemy territory with his forces divided: “Here is a piece of paper with which if I cannot whip Bobbie Lee, I will be willing to go home.” What was that piece […]

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“All were American soldiers…”

A lot of folks tell us what the Civil War was all about. Professors and reporters and “very important” people tell us. And with what conviction they tell us! But I rarely hear from the scholars about why the man in uniform was fighting. Seems the soldier is simply forgotten. Sure, we hear “what the […]

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